Can You Power Wash A Split Rail Fence? [How To Clean It]

A split-rail fence can be a good addition to your property. However, these fence types are prone to dirt buildup over time. So you may ask, can you power wash a split rail fence? And how do you clean it? We searched the web for this topic and here is what we gathered.

Yes, you can power wash a split rail fence. However, if the wood is untreated, then it is not advisable to do so. In addition, you should be careful when you use a power washer to clean wood fences. And since wood has different strengths, it is also right to use the right amount of pressure when cleaning them. 

Stay with us as we discuss how to properly clean a split-rail fence with a power washer. In addition, we'll cover how much pressure should you use and what power washer nozzle to use. We'll also dive into the types of equipment to use and what factors to consider when choosing the right power washer to use.

A decorative white split rail fence, Can You Power Wash A Split Rail Fence? [How To Clean It]

How To Power Wash A Split Rail Fence

When power washing a split rail fence, there are three important things you need to do. These are as listed below

A decorative white split rail fence

Area Preparation

The most critical step in properly washing a fence is preparation. Before you begin, ensure that:

  • You clean up any loose material along and around the fence.
  • Remove any clutter from your working area to avoid slipping or falling over anything.
  • Close all doors and windows to keep water out of your home's interior.
  • Use a tarp to protect plants, power outlets, lighting, deck furnishings, and anything else around.
  • Place your power washer in a secure location.
  • To establish the proper spray pattern, consult your owner's manual.

Cleaner Application

To apply your fence cleaner, you must:

  • Water the soil and plants surrounding your fence with the garden hose to form a barrier between the detergent and the soil.
  • Fill the pressure washer with a cleaning solution. To avoid streaks, apply detergent to your fence from the bottom up.
  • Allow 5-10 minutes for the detergent to soak into the fence.

Check out this Fence Cleaner on Amazon

Power Washing

  • After the detergent has soaked in for 5–10 minutes on the fence, spray it off with a 25-degree nozzle.
  • To avoid streaks, use a top-down technique with the sprayer during rinsing.
  • Allow 48 hours for the fence to dry before applying stain, sealer, or paint after the job is finished.


  • Work in portions. If you spray the cleaner on your whole fence before washing it, the solution will harden.
  • It's recommended to cover one or two boards at a time. When power washing your fence, use this technique to achieve the best results.
  • It's critical to test the effects of various pressures to keep your fence in good shape. This is the most important step after properly cleaning your fence with detergent.

How Much Pressure Should You Apply When Cleaning A Wood Fence?

Cleaning your fence with a PSI of 500–800 for softer timbers should be enough. But if your fence is composed of harder wood, a PSI of 1200–1500 may be required to clean it properly.

You can test the PSI on a small region before power washing the whole fence to see what works best with the wood type you have.

Man cleaning the back yard with high pressure washer

What Type of Nozzle To Use In Power Washing Wood Fences?

The green nozzle tip with a 25-degree angle is ideal for general pressure cleaning. Anything less than that won't be strong enough to clean your fence effectively, and anything too big could cause the damage we're wanting to avoid. 

However, if you come into thick filth or badly stained portions of the fence, you may need to move to a 15-degree yellow-tipped nozzle.

Gas Vs. Electric Power Washers: Which To Choose?

Knowing what power washer type best suits your cleaning work is essential. In general, there are two types of pressure washers you can use: 

  • electric
  • gas-powered

Power washers, both electric and gas-powered, can cover most of the outdoor cleaning tasks that a regular homeowner might encounter.

Electric Power Washers

A decorative white split rail fence

Electric pressure washers have a push-button start and are quieter and cleaner than gas pressure washers. They're also more lightweight and require less upkeep.

Although corded devices aren't as portable as gas-powered models and don't have the same power ranges, electric-powered machines are effective in removing dirt and grime from patio furniture, grills, automobiles, fencing, decks, patios, siding, and other surfaces.

Some of these highly portable, handheld devices come with detergent reservoirs, adjustable nozzles, or brush attachments, making them easier to store.

Gas-powered Power Washers

A decorative white split rail fence

Gas models provide the mobility and power you need to tackle major chores like driveways, sidewalks, home exteriors, and heavy-duty work like stripping paint, depending on the type.

While many come with a manual pull starter, others have a push-button electric starter for one-handed operation.

However, these power washers are noisier and emit more pollutants than those with electric engines.

What Are Some Factors To Consider In Choosing The Right Power Washer?

The features of a pressure washer can determine its strength and dependability when cleaning various sorts of outdoor surfaces. You should consider the following aspects while looking for a pressure washer:

  • PSI
  • Flow Rate (GPM)
  • Size of Nozzle
  • Wand
  • Mobility
  • Detergent Tanks


The PSI is a measurement of water pressure and the ability of a water stream to remove debris. It varies per pressure washer type. The higher the PSI of a pressure washer, the stronger the water pressure.

Flow Rate (GPM)

This is the movement of water from the machine's unit to the nozzle, and it has to do with the dirt-washing power. The power washer will clean off debris faster if the GPM is larger.

Here is a list of power washer categories based on their PSI and GPM ratings: 

Light Duty

These pressure washers are ideal for modest work around the house, with ratings ranging from 1899 PSI at 0.5-2 GPM. These compact, lightweight machines are great for cleaning outdoor furniture, barbecues, and automobiles.

Medium Duty

These washers produce between 1900-2788 PSI at 1-3 GPM. These sturdier, more powerful devices are ideal for home and shop use, making it simple to clean everything from exterior paneling and fences to patios and decks.

Heavy Duty & Commercial

Heavy-duty pressure washers start at 2800 PSI and flow rates of 2 GPM or above. While power washers for commercial use begin at 3100 PSI and can have GPM values as high as 4.

Many large-scale cleaning operations, such as scrubbing decks and driveways, washing two-story homes, removing vandalism, and stripping paint, are made simple by these powerful machines.

Nozzle Angle

The water pressure and spread are determined by the nozzle size. Individual nozzles are available in sizes ranging from 0 to 65 degrees.

The water stream is more forceful when the nozzle is narrower. While a broader nozzle uses less force, it has a wider spread, which might speed up the job if the stains aren't too stubborn.

Among the settings and nozzles are:

Nozzle Angle Color Code Description/Uses
0 degrees Red most effective;
concentrated nozzle setting
15 degrees Yellow used for heavy-duty cleaning
25 degrees Green used for general cleaning
40 degrees White for cars, patio furniture, yachts, and easily damaged surfaces
65 degrees Black low-pressure nozzle for applying soap and other cleaning chemicals


This accessory allows you to change the spray width or water pressure of your washer without having to change the nozzle.


Electric pressure washers usually weigh between 15 and 60 pounds, whereas many gas-powered washers weigh well over 100 pounds.

Detergent Tanks

Pressure washers may include an onboard detergent tank that carries a cleaning solution that is pressured with water and released via the spray cannon with the flip of a switch.

If your pressure washer does not have a detergent tank, you can mix the detergent into the water via a siphoning hose.

Safety Tips When Using A Power Washer

While the main task is to clean your fence, you need to be careful when you do the job. Here are some safety tips for you:

Examine The Manual

Reading a handbook is frequently regarded as a waste of time, but power washers may be dangerous, and manufacturers go to great lengths to ensure they provide the best advice possible.

Wear Safety Gears

Pressure washers are very forceful, and you can easily damage yourself. Avoid wearing shorts or thongs; instead, use protective goggles, gloves, and protective shoes.

Avoid Touching

Never put any body part in front of the spray, and never spray it at anybody else. Also, keep toddlers and teenagers at a safe distance.

Don't Use Ladders

Pressure washers can have quite a push to them considering the amount of power they produce. Avoid balancing or standing on anything, as this is a disaster waiting to happen.

For reaching great heights, extension lances are the way to go.

In Closing

Rail white fence

Power washing your split rail fence is a great way to clean it. However, you need to be careful when using it, and you should use the right amount of pressure and nozzle type to avoid damaging your fence. 

Before we part ways, you can check out these articles on this page: 

How To Lighten A Dark Stained Fence?

How Long To Paint A Wrought Iron Fence?